Thursday, October 16, 2014

Birkenstock and Elvis


When Pam and I became empty nesters permanently back in July, I immediately began to plot and scheme for ways to stay close to our children. Yes, I did say children, because although both of them are fully grown adults, they will always be our children. The fact that I am no longer able to use them to help lower my tax burden does not diminish their value. The fact that I no longer am responsible for their care and feeding, does not mean that I no longer wish to ever feed them again. I have invested too much time and money in the two of them to simply let them waltz away to Columbia, South Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee without so much as a whimper of protest.

So, I pulled out a map of the United States and drew a circle around our three cities, then tried to find a spot on the map that was equidistant for all of us. The closest point of reasonable interest happened to be the Pigeon Forge area of Tennessee, in the midst of the Great Smoky Mountains, aka…Hillbilly Vegas. So, I got online and began the search for a cabin to rent and an agreeable long weekend. When I extended the invitation, both of them jumped at the chance to get away and spend some of Dad’s money.

Pam and I arrived around 4 or so in the afternoon and instantly fell head over heels for this place. For one thing, it was clean as a pin and decorated beautifully. But the view off of the three decks from each floor is a stunning panorama that stretches out for miles. The leaves are near their peak. We are at a high elevation so we can see the tops of shining yellow and bright fiery orange trees far below us. Once the sun set the vast valley lit up in a sea of lights stretching to the end of the horizon. Now, we just have to wait for the kids to arrive and hope that A. they can find this place at night, and B. they don’t drive off a cliff in the process.

Earlier this evening Pam and I came down off this mountain to get something to eat in Pigeon Forge and then pick up some groceries for the weekend. We chose a place called “No Way Jose’s” Mexican Cantina, only because the place next door that claimed to serve the “best ribs in America” had a thirty minute wait.  When we were preparing to leave No Way Jose’s, a family of 15 waddled past us on their way to a table in the back, all 15 of whom tipped the scales at a minimum of 250 pounds. None of them were much taller than Pam. This is when I knew that I wasn’t in Short Pump anymore.
This being my third trip to the area, I have been looking forward to some major league people watching in perhaps the best spot in America for such a purpose. You see it all here. For example, when Pam and I were pulling out of the No Way Jose’s parking lot we noticed a juxtaposition of two businesses that I feel certain one would never find anywhere else on the planet. There was a Birkenstock store right next to an Elvis Museum. ‘Murika.